It was the final straw for Brendan Harrison.
Spending time at the family cottage in rural Ontario the entrepreneur got a call in the middle of the night from his home alarm service. They told him there was motion detected at their Ottawa home. Little could be done by the alarm service other than sending the police over, a costly solution on top of an already costly service.
“Of course there was no problem, I received a $150 charge from the police and here I am talking to this alarm company, thinking ‘Why do I need you? Why can’t I just look inside my house on my own?,’ said Harrison.
Fast forward to the present and Harrison, along with cofounders Dan Burkett and Alen Zukich, have launched Camcloud, an innovative provider of cloud video monitoring services for homes and small businesses. They recently announced a private seed investment and opened a development office in Ottawa.
Having spent over 15 years as a vice president of marketing at a development tools company Harrison was able to observe several pitfalls in the video-surveillance-as-a-space (VSaaS) market. Established players in the industry lock customers into three-year contracts, tie them into specific hardware, and charge as much as $40 per month.
With traditional home security companies the barrier to entry is often high for those who are simply looking for peace of mind, according to Harrison, the startup's CEO. Camcloud offers a do-it-yourself approach with no contracts while supporting a growing list of cameras, IP cameras and any type of webcam. Camcloud currently offers a free plan as well as two paid plans for $5 or $15 per month.
“It’s more of a hardware-independent approach,” Harrison told Techvibes. “I would argue its more of an open solution, its more flexible and its much more cost-effective as well.”
The fast growing VSaaS space and the idea of a connected home is what Camcloud sought to immediately take advantage of. Its service can work for anyone from those worrying about break-ins to someone stuck in the office who wants to know if their dog is giving birth to puppies back at home.
Johannes Ziebarth has been through the false alarm pains himself. In fact, over 15 times involving commercial and residential properties he owns.
The investor and CEO of Ziebarth Electrical Contractors called Camcloud a “tremendous concept,” adding that it solves a problem for clients who don’t have to get into heavy video monitoring.
“It just seems it’s the right time for something simple yet effective to come along for a pretty broad range of clients,” said Ziebarth. “It really allows people to take care of their properties from anywhere, anytime and to take a look and see what’s actually happening.”
With their private seed investment the startup is now focusing on aggressive user acquisition and they’re shooting for over 100,000 users in the near future. Ziebarth says now its about how they bring their product into the market space: “With a product line like this it will always evolve and it will always be able to add and tweak additional services but really the other side is how do you reach the masses."